Archives for April 2011

Living Without You

People aren’t supposed to die young…  I mean, yes, I know it’s possible and it happens every single day but it’s not something that’s supposed to happen to people you know (if you know what I mean)…  God has a purpose for all of us whether it’s to be on this earth for a day, a year, 17 years or 97 years.  I get that but that doesn’t stop the pain, the tears and the thoughts that we feel here on earth when something like this happens.  My plan for this morning was not to start crying and have it continue for most of my morning but I went to a women’s event at church on Saturday that was amazing…  Amazing stories all around and then we were given questions…  Well, when it came time for me to speak I had no idea what that would stir in me and what may come out of my mouth.  I didn’t know it would bring me back to my past and how I’ve been so close to death so many times and I certainly didn’t plan on sharing with everyone that I had lost someone so dear to me at the tender age of 17…  My cousin Nik.  I’ve been able to tell this story a million times but for some reason, it was different this time.  Maybe it was that I had a 17 year girl sitting at my table listening to my story, maybe not.  I have no idea but I cried as I relived this story and shared my heart with these women and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since…

Friday was an amazing day…  I caught up with an old friend on the phone, took Camden to the park and got a little workout in…  I had a date night that night with my husband to the Blazers vs. Lakers game and it was nuts!  So much fun and the interaction between the fans, players and refs was so amazing!  Arguably one of the greatest games I’ve been to yet which says a lot…  Here are a couple of pictures of the park and game…

So like I said, Saturday changed things for me…  I am flooded with memories and feeling a HUGE loss of somebody that I loved so much, was a tremendous part of my life and Nik was family and we were always supposed to have each other… We shared dreams, talked about our crushes and what it would be like to get married and have kids and how we’d always have each other and how our kids would grow up together like we had…  We were the same age (17) and we spent that whole summer together hanging out everyday talking and hanging out…  It was so much fun, until that dreaded August Day…  I got a phone call early evening saying to go home right away and that my brother was going to be picking me up…  I thought something had happened to one of my grandparents.  I’ll never forget this day and the moment that I arrived at Nik’s house.  I must spare details as I’d rather not have this personal experience for everyone to read but it was gut wrenching and heart breaking and I had never felt such pain!  I was in shock, didn’t know what to do with myself and I sure as heck didn’t know, at 17, how to respond to handle such an excruciatingly painful circumstance.  But this was my reality…  My cousin, at 17 years old, died of natural causes.  What?  No car accident, no accident at all, but natural causes?  I certainly didn’t know how to process this either and lived for many years worried that this could happen to me too.  The end of that month I left Oregon and went back to Utah, to boarding school, for my senior year.  I was alone, but I knew  I had to go on. I had to live without Nik, and try to make sense out of complete nonsense!  Away from family I clenched on to the only thing that could keep me going, my faith in the One true God.  I gave my life to Christ that year and it still amazes me to think that there was something good that could come out of such a horrible, disgusting thing.  I miss this boy every single day of my life and I still dream about what it would be like if he was still here with us…  I dream about the family that he would have had, the kids he would have had and how we’d take family vacations together.  I dream of that bond and friendship that would have grown even stronger between us and how he would get along with my husband.  I miss hearing his voice and talking to him and asking for advice and just having him around…  He was such a funny guy and I just miss him so much!  The absence of his presence is definitely felt in our family and our family as a whole has never been the same.  🙁

They say it is better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all…  So true!  I had 17 years knowing an amazing person, was blessed by an old soul who didn’t have a mean bone in his body, and because of him and his death, it has helped shape me into who I am today!

I have seen death, witnessed it up close and personal, heard it, smelled it, and there was even a time on 9/11 that I very well could have been on a plane that would have killed me.  My body aches today at these horrible thoughts but I know I have a purpose here on this earth.  🙂

Life is not always what it seems to be and you need you need to live each day as if it could be your last…  Because you never know when that day is coming for you, or the ones around you.  My last words to Nik were ‘I love you.’ and ‘Goodbye.’ And those were also the last words he spoke to me which brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.

Nik, thank you for being such a BIG part of my life.  Words cannot even begin to express what you mean to me.  Thank you for your life, the example you were to me, your kind heart and spirt and the encouragement that you always gave to me.  I strive to be half the person that you were in your short life and if I could have been the one to lose my life on that dreadful August day I would so that you could be here!  I miss you so much and am so happy to have had those 17 years being your cousin, your friend, and your confidant.  I will never forget the times we’ve shared and will continue to think about what life would be like with you still here.  Your birthday is coming up in one month from today exactly and you would have been 31.  I will celebrate you and your life and what you mean to me.  I love you and will NEVER forget you!  Thank you for being such a huge part of who I am!

There is a song that came out that I listened to that whole summer Nik died…  You can listen to it here.  It always reminds me of him when I hear it.  🙂

I just went up to the cemetery and got some beautiful pictures…  I stood there and wept as I stared at the mausoleum that he is buried in…  So much pain and heartache for me because I still feel such loss.  Here are some pictures and the poem which is engraved on his tomb…  I love the view from up there and I also love that as I walked away back to my car, it started to hail on me.  That is just SOOOO Nik!!!  🙂

To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me

 

When I am gone, release me, let me go.

I have so many things to see and do.

You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.

Be thankful for our many beautiful years.

 

I gave to you my love.  You can only guess

how much you gave to me in happiness.

I thank you for the love you each have shown,

but now it’s time I traveled on alone.

 

So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must.

Then let your grief be comforted by trust.

It’s only for a time that we must part,

so bless the memories within your heart.

 

I won’t be far away, for life goes on.

So if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near

and if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear

all my love around you soft and clear.

 

And then, when you must come this way alone,

I’ll greet you with a smile and say-

“Welcome home”


RIP Nik!!!  <3 Always loved, never forgotten.

 

 

In Need of A Savior

I’ll admit it…  I’m definitely in need of an attitude adjustment this morning!  My husband would argue that I’m a pessimist sometimes, and if I’m telling the truth, I would have to agree with that statement.  🙁 Do you ever just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  That was me this morning and on top of that I woke up late, was not in the Word, and it all crumbled from there…  I was cranky, short tempered, and let’s just admit it, not so fun to be around!  I really have no excuse for this behavior as I am truly blessed, serve an AMAZING and FORGIVING GOD, have a wonderful husband who loves me and two kids who are incredible and sometimes more patient than me…  I, like everyone else in this world, am in need of a Savior!  Someone who, when I fall, picks me right back up and plants me on my feet, who loves me unconditionally in every sense of the word, would die for me, cares for me, listens to me, is patient with me, whose mercies are new each and every morning and my list could go on…  In my own selfish need for perfection from people which I will NEVER get…  even from myself 😉 because we are human, is the very reason why I am in need of a Savior!  The ONLY Person who can be all of these amazing things to us because He is the one true God.  I am so far from perfect and am so broken and flawed, it’s nice to know that their is someone who can fulfill my every want, need and desire!  I am a control freak and I am learning every single day how I am NOT in control and how I need to put my trust in God!  Because the more I do NOT trust in Him, the farther away I am being pulled from Him.  The enemy is so close and ready to sweep in when we least expect it or when we’re most vulnerable and if we don’t have a firm grasp on the Lord, we are going to fall so quickly!  This is something I do NOT want to happen to me today so I am choosing to be fixed on Him and being in the Word and doing whatever it is I have to do to stay planted on the ground in His presence.  I’m going to go for a run so I can be surrounded in His beauty, feel the cool air blow on my face and spend time with the One who created me.  I am so blessed and so thankful that I serve this kind of God!  It’s so easy to be selfish and do what we want, but I’ll tell you, sometimes it takes more self control to do what He wants…  what’s best for you!  And He does know what’s best for us…  after all, He created us and He created us to be with Him, not away from Him.  To serve Him and others, not serve ourselves.  To be selfless, not selfish.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.   – Hebrews 12:1-3

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”   -Hebrews 12:28-29

 

And so Lord, right now, in this moment I choose You!  I choose to serve You over myself and fulfill Your mission for my life…  Your will and not my will.  Thank you that you love me so much that You died on a cross for me…  That you saw the bigger picture and lifted Your head out of the confusion of earth long enough to hear the solution of heaven.  Without You I wouldn’t be here, I’d be lost, wandering without a purpose.  Thank you that You are my purpose and that You give me purpose to be here.  I choose You… Because all of You, is more than enough for all of me!

Nobody ever said it would be easy…  They only said it would be worth it!  And they were right!!  🙂

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So as I was going along my way and turned on the radio…  The Lord, again in His amazing way and only in a way that He can, gave me this song to listen to…  And it is so perfect to go along with my post because this is what I’m trying to get across!  Thank you, Lord, with tears streaming down my face, for the uplifting reminder of what this life is all about!  You never cease to amaze me, over and over again!  <3

Here is a link to the song Not To Us by Chris Tomlin and the lyrics below…  🙂

The cross before me the world behind
No turning back, raise the banner high
It’s not for me, it’s all for You

Let the heavens shake and split the sky
Let the people clap their hands and cry
It’s not for us, it’s all for You

[Chorus:]
Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory
Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory

Our hearts unfold before Your throne
The only place for those who know
It’s not for us, It’s all for You

Send Your holy fire on this offering
Let our worship burn for the world to see
It’s not for us, It’s all for You

[Chorus]

The earth is shaking, the mountains shouting
It’s all for You
The waves are crashing, the sun is raging
It’s all for You
The universe spinning and singing
It’s all for You
The children dancing, dancing, dancing
It’s all for You, It’s all for You

My all for You
Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory
My all for You
Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory
My all for You
Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory

 

Also, thank you so much for your prayers…  Those of you who have texted and emailed already!  Thankful for amazing friends!  🙂

The Love Dare

Ever since we watched the movie Fireproof I’ve wanted to read through the book The Love Dare!  The movie was pretty good…  amazing message but the acting was a bit cheesy.  I do, however, recommend it very highly as I think we can all learn so much from it!  🙂  I bawled all through the movie, of course, but it really made me wonder how it might change my already awesome marriage for the better, but more importantly, how the Lord would work in my heart to change ME!!  I love my husband with all that I am but I know that I could always love him better…  more deeply, unconditionally, more patiently,  and my list goes on…  I am human after all!  😉  I just knew that this book could change me for the better and oh my goodness, it already has!  I took this amazing leap and got the book and I’m only on day 2 but couldn’t be more excited about what the Lord has in store for us!  🙂 Yesterday was a COMPLETE success…  Because of my reactions to things and my actions, my husband responded to me for the better…  It was so incredibly amazing!  🙂 I’d love to share what my ‘love dare challenge’ was for yesterday and I encourage everyone to go through this book…  If you aren’t married this can definitely still be beneficial to you in dealing with people in general!  What a blessing this book already is to me!  🙂 If anyone would like to journey through this book with me I’d love to chat and keep each other accountable!

DAY 1

Love is Patient

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,

bearing with one another in love.  -Ephesians 4:2

 

Love works. It is life’s most powerful motivator, and has far greater depth and meaning than most people realize. It always does what is best for others, and can empower us to face the greatest of problems. We are born with a lifelong thirst for love. Our hearts desperately need it like our lungs need oxygen. Love changes our motivation for living. Relationships become meaningful with it. No marriage is successful without it.

Love is built on two pillars that best define what it is. Those pillars are patience and kindness. All other characteristics of love are extensions of these two attributes. And that’s where your dare will begin. With patience.

Love will inspire you to become a patient person. When you choose to be patient, you respond in a positive way to a negative situation. You are slow to anger. You have a long fuse instead of a quick temper. Rather than being restless and demanding, love helps you settle down and begin extending mercy to those around you. Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm.

No one likes to be around an impatient person. It causes you to overreact in angry, foolish, and regrettable ways. The irony of anger toward a wrongful action is that it spawns new wrongs of its own. Anger almost never makes things better. In fact, it usually generates additional problems.  But patience stops problems in their tracks. More than biting your lip, more than clapping a hand over your mouth, patience is a deep breath. It clears the air. It stops foolishness from whipping its scorpion tail all over the room. It is a choice to control your emotions rather than allowing your emotions to control you, and shows discretion instead of returning evil for evil.

If your spouse offends you, do you quickly retaliate or stay under control? Do you find that anger is your emotional default when treated unfairly? If so, you are spreading poison rather than medicine.

Anger is usually caused when the strong desire for something is mixed with disappointment or grief. You don’t get what you want and you start heating up inside. It is often an emotional reaction that flows out of our own selfishness, foolishness, or evil motives.

Patience, however, makes us wise. It doesn’t rush to judgment but listens to what the other person is saying. Patience stands in the doorway where anger is clawing to burst in, but waits to see the whole picture before passing judgment. The Bible says, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29).

As sure as a lack of patience will turn your home into a war zone, the practice of patience will foster peace and quiet. “A hot- tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” (Proverbs 15:18). Statements like these from the book of Proverbs are clear principles with timeless relevance. Patience is where love meets wisdom. And every marriage needs that combination to stay healthy.

Patience helps you give your spouse permission to be human. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it. It gives you the ability to hold on during the tough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure.

But can your spouse count on having a patient wife or husband to deal with? Can she know that locking her keys in the car will be met by your understanding rather than a demeaning lecture that makes her feel like a child? Can he know that cheering during the last seconds of a football game won’t invite a loud-mouthed laundry list of ways he should be spending his time? It turns out that few people are as hard to live with as an impatient person.

What would the tone and volume of your home be like if you tried this biblical approach: “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another”? (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Few of us do patience very well, and none of us do it naturally. But a wise man or woman will pursue it as an essential ingredient to their marriage relationship. That’s a good starting point to demonstrate true love.

This journey is a process, and the first thing you must resolve to possess is patience. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. But it’s a race worth running.

 

~TODAY’S DARE~

The first part of this dare is fairly simple.  Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart.  For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all.  If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything.  It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.

 

Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.  (James 1:19)

 

Okay, so there you have it!  I’m challenging all of you to do this with me!  It’s going to change my life…  as a daughter of Christ, as a wife, a mother and as a person!  🙂  In a world that attacks, devalues, and redefines relationships every day, we need to learn how to rescue and protect our marriages from the storm.  What more can we strive for then to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow the ONE TRUE GOD!?!